Palm Beach Dramaworks’ production of Satchmo at the Waldorf, starring Barry Shabaka Henley and directed by me, opens tonight in West Palm Beach. With two successful public previews under our belts, I now feel safe in saying that we’re ready to light the candle. In fact, everything went so smoothly at Thursday’s preview performance that I unhesitatingly canceled today’s final rehearsal. Instead we’re all going to stay home and rest up. As my Louis Armstrong says in Satchmo, “Wanna please the people, get you a good night’s sleep.” Afternoon naps don’t hurt, either.
This is, as regular readers of this blog know, my professional debut as a stage director. But it is also, incredible as it may sound, my ninth opening night to date for Satchmo, and I’m just as delighted as I was in Orlando, Lenox, New Haven, Philadelphia, New York, Beverly Hills, Chicago, and San Francisco—as well as in Santa Fe, Philadelphia, and Louisville, the cities where my three operas opened. It doesn’t get old.
In preparation for the big night, I present—as I always do before my opening nights—the following clip, which I first saw on TV as a child and which in recent years has become increasingly relevant to my life.
Break a leg, everybody: